Ancestry UK

Oldham Day Industrial School, Oldham, Lancashire

In 1891, the Oldham School Board erected a Day Industrial School at Gower Street, Oldham. The School was formally certified for operation on December 30th, 1891, with accommodation provided for 200 children aged 6 to 14. It began admitting children on January 20th, 1892. The superintendent was Miss Marion Greenwood.

In January, 1894, a boiler exploded in a property close to the School on Bell Street and scattered debris over a wide area. The alarmed children ran out into Gower Street in a state of fear. Fortunately none of them suffered injury, although a section of the boiler-house was sent crashing through the skylight of the School's roof.

At an inspection in May, 1894, the number of inmates was 150 (105 boys and 45 girls), with 65 of the total being Roman Catholic. There was a manual instruction centre on the school premises and 30 of the boys received 4 hours' instruction a week. A shoemaker instructed 16 boys in clog-making and boot and shoe repairing. Some of the smaller boys were employed at wood-chopping. The girls and most of the boys learned to knit and sew. The housework and washing were done by the children. The introduction of systematic lessons in cookery was being planned. Musical drill with clubs and wands for the boys was carried on for an hour each week. The girls' play-yard was provided with swing and see-saws, and the boys with 'some not very useful appliances'. There were 2 baths, the one on the boys' side being quite large enough to swim in, although the lack of an instructor meant that very few boys could swim. The yards, though spacious, were said to be too much on a slope for games such as football. Occasional visits were made to the park, although it was too far off to be used very often. In 1895, all the children camped out for a week at St Anne's-on-Sea

The School suffered a steady decline in the number of children on its roll, which by 1900 had fallen to a total of 62 (40 boys and 22 girls). In the same year, the School Board decided to close the School. The premises were subsequently used as a pupil teachers' school then later by a clinic and a school for the deaf and blind. The building no longer exists and the site is now occupied by modern housing.


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